Two Miscellaneous Objections

Two Miscellaneous Objections - Two Miscellaneous Objections...

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Two Miscellaneous Objections Kant raises two objections directed specifically to the design argument. The first is a variant on the infinite regress objection posed by Hume. Kant proposes a dilemma: either God is a member of the chain of natural causes, or God stands entirely outside that chain (p. 519). Kant claims that in the second case, human reason cannot reach the conclusion that God exists. In the first case, an infinite regress looms, since the existence of a finite, contingent creator would call for explanation in terms of what caused it to exist. Kant's treatment of the first horn of the dilemma seems sound. However, Kant offers little argument for believing that the existence of an infinite, necessary cause is beyond the scope of human reason. Second, Kant argues that the design argument proves only that the form of the world has been caused. It does not demonstrate that the matter or substance of the world is similarly contingent. This objection seems outdated in light of recent cosmology. According to modern physics, including general relativity, the form and matter of the world are inseparable. Both have their origin in the Big Bang singularity. The Big Picture As we have seen repeatedly, Kant held that human reason cannot reach certain conclusions about the real (or "noumenal") world. Instead, our natural or scientific knowledge can reach no farther than the phenomenal world, the world of empirical appearances. In particular, our inferences from effects to causes have no validity beyond the bounds of the phenomenal world. This thesis Kant calls "transcendental idealism". There seems to be some confusion in Kant's mind about the exact boundaries of the phenomenal world. Similar ambiguity besets such words as "empirical" and "possible objects of experience". Kant denies that a necessary, infinite first cause can belong to the empirical or be a possible object of experience. If by "object of experience", Kant means "directly perceivable by the unaided human senses", then it is clear that God cannot be an object of experience. However, it is
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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Two Miscellaneous Objections - Two Miscellaneous Objections...

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